Superfoods Diet for a Super You!!!

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A 3-Day “Superfoods” Diet for a Super You!

Someone was handing out a 3-Day Diet that contained such “non-super” foods as saltine crackers, hot dogs and vanilla ice cream. I was appalled that so many women were clamoring to receive their copy of the “diet,” that I looked at it in disgust stating, “That is not a diet. That is horrible. There is no nutrition there. Let me put together a nutritious 3-Day Diet to help you lose weight sensibly.” So I did. As it turns out, this diet is so chock full of superfoods and good habits,  that I’ve decided to use it to coincide with a radio broadcast I’m doing tonight on the subject of “Superfoods.” The show should be at the top of this post. Simply click on the volume button and wait a few minutes for the show to begin.  (In case you have trouble finding the radio broadcast, the questions and answers from the show can be found at the end of this post)
As I was preparing for the show hosted by Tanna Corona, I listened to one of her past guests, an organizer expert named Danielle Lescure who has a website: http://www.straightenupandfileright.com/
I love organizing, not that I would do it for a living and not that I’m perfect at it, but as someone who has moved nearly every year for the past ten years, I find that organizing helps me settle into my new environment each time I relocate. Hmm, sounds like I’m in the witness protection program, but I’m not.
Danielle was a very eloquent speaker on Tanna’s show. I only hope I come across as well. She actually gave many organizational tips which I find quite applicable to helping someone on the road to better eating habits. This one in particular is the perfect jumping off point…
“Start where you are”: when it comes to making a change, whether getting more organized or improving your diet, it’s best to just look at what is right in front of you and move forward from there.
1.  If you eat cereal for breakfast, begin by adding blueberries to your cereal. Blueberries are a “superfood” for sure. Their blue color indicates that they are rich in a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin, which offers much protection and great taste to any meal or snack.
2.  If you eat a sandwich for lunch, add Romaine lettuce or spinach to your sandwich. Leafy greens are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids (the plant version of vitamin A), both of which offer protective benefits, filling fiber, water and even protein, all from a little green plant. Although leafy greens are low in fat overall, the fat they do contain is mainly that coveted omega-3 type
3.  If you eat chicken for dinner, switch to wild caught fish 2 times per week. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that wild caught sea food is rich in omega-3’s particularly EPA & DHA which are associated with reducing inflammation and with optimizing brain health. Canned fish is fine too but choose Wild Planet brand since they use a canning process that preserves the omega-3’s while also eliminating harmful BPA’s found in other canning methods. BPA’s have been associated with increasing the risk of hormone related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer. Fish canned in BPA lined cans is not so “super” after all. Choose BPA free Wild Planet brand!!!
In general, choose whole, colorful foods that make you feel GOOD!!! I love to snack on frozen blueberries because they are cold like ice cream, slightly sweet and they turn my tongue blue which makes me laugh!
Here is a very general list of “Superfoods” and some ways to incorporate them using the 3-Day “Superfoods” Diet below.
1.     Salmon, wild caught
2.     Flax seeds
3.     Berries
4.     Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, All leafy greens!!
5.     Beans or Lentila (all kinds)
6.     Nuts
7.     Eggs from pasture raised chickens
8.     Sweet potatoes
9.     Quinoa, Brown rice, or Wild Rice
10.   Greek yogurt
11.   Tea (green or black)
But before you learn to incorporate the list, first incorporate these useful tips!
1)      Drink 8 ounces of water upon waking & every 2 hours after.
2)      Eat within one hour of waking.
3)      Eat every 3 hours.
4)      Eat something green at every meal.
5)      Eat some protein at every meal.
6)      Eat unprocessed complex carbs from whole food sources.
7)      Eat good fats from nuts, olives, avocados or flax seeds & flax oil at every meal.
8)      Exercise or move your body at least 30 minutes a day.
9)      Sleep 6-8 hours a night.
10)  Do something that makes you happy every day!
*Note the nutrient density of these meals. No supplements required!!!
DAY 1:
Upon rising: 8 ounces of water plus the juice of one whole lemon
(By adding lemon to water, you instantly get 94% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C)
Meal 1:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup oatmeal, dry (2/3 cup cooked)
2 whole pasture raised eggs, scrambled
2 cups fresh spinach, steamed
Meal 2:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup white beans
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 avocado, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Drink the water with lemon. Combine the rest of the ingredients for a tasty, protective salad. Place on a bed of greens if you like for added protection.
Meal 3:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
3 oz fresh or canned salmon (1/2 can)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (1/2 coffee cup)
2 cups steamed collard greens (1/2 of a bunch)
Steam sauté some onions with the collard greens for extra flavor
Meal 4:
8 oz water
1/2 cup white beans (1/2 coffee cup)
1 Tbsp vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup mixed salad greens (a good handful)
1 cup berries (any type)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp flax oil
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes (Optional: a significant source of B12)
Combine water, beans, greens, berries, cinnamon & nutritional yeast flakes in a blender.
Add 6-8 ice cubes to reach desired consistency.
Take this drink to work in a stainless steel water bottle, thermos or even a large mason jar.
Meal 5:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
4 oz pan grilled chicken (size of the palm of your hand) (make 4 oz extra for lunch tomorrow)
2 cups broccoli (size of 2 light bulbs)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, drizzle on broccoli
3 oz sweet potato (size of your fist)
1 tsp flax oil, drizzle on sweet potato (Do Not heat flax oil. Add AFTER heating food.)
Cost for the entire Day: $8.62
Nutrients for the entire Day:  Calories: 1,557, Protein: 122g, Carbs: 184g, Fiber: 42g,
Fat: 37g, Sugar: 61g, Sodium: 1,053mg, Omega-3 fats: 6,900mg, Omega-6 fats: 5,280mg,
Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio: 0.7:1 (Goal < 4:1),
% Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin A: 424% • Vitamin C: 789% (473mg)
Thiamine-B1: 391% • Riboflavin-B2: 395%
Niacin: 250% • Vitamin B6: 348%
Vitamin B12: 87% • Vitamin D: 58%
Vitamin E: 79% • Folate: 202%
Pantothenic Acid: 107%
Calcium: 81% • Magnesium: 108%
Iron: 97% • Selenium: 191%
Copper: 80% • Zinc: 56% (8.35mg) (Goal: 12mg Women, 15mg Men)
Manganese: 271% • Potassium: 133%
Phosphorus: 123%
DAY 2:
Upon rising: 8 ounces of water plus the juice of one whole lemon
(By adding lemon to water, you instantly get 94% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C)
Meal 1:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
1 slice 100% whole wheat or sprouted bread or 1/2 cup quinoa or brown rice
2 poached eggs
2 cups collard greens, steamed (the other half of the bunch, add onion if desired)
Meal 2:
8 oz water
1/3 cup oatmeal, dry
1 cup berries
1 cup mixed salad greens
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds or 1 tsp flax oil
1 Tbsp vanilla whey protein powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
Blend everything in a blender. Add ice to reach desired consistency.
Meal 3:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
4 oz pan grilled chicken
3 oz sweet potato
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 tsp flax oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Make a big salad out of these foods
Meal 4:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
1 hard boiled egg
1 carrot, cut into sticks
1 stalk celery, cut into sticks
Meal 5:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
4 oz steamed fish such as cod, haddock or salmon
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables such as peas, carrots & green beans
2 cups Romain lettuce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp flax oil, to drizzle on salad
DAY 3:
Upon rising: 8 ounces of water plus the juice of one whole lemon
(By adding lemon to water, you instantly get 94% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C)
Meal 1:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup black beans
4 egg whites plus 1 whole egg, scrambled
2 Tbsp salsa
1/4 avocado
2 cups fresh spinach, steamed
Meal 2:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 avocado, diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
Drink the water with lemon. Toss everything together
Meal 3:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
3 oz canned salmon
1 cup mixed vegetables
2 cups broccoli (size of 2 light bulbs)
4 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp flax oil
Drink the water with lemon. Toss everything else together to make a salad
Meal 4:
8 oz water
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup berries
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds or 1 tsp flax oil
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes (optional)
Blend everything in a blender with 6-8 ice cubes to reach desired consistency
Meal 5:
8 oz water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
4 oz extra lean beef (90-95% lean), pan grilled
2 cups kale, steamed
3 oz sweet potato, baked
1 tsp flax oil for sweet potato
Juice of 1/2 lemon for kale

What makes certain foods superfoods?  Superfoods, like Super Heros, can save your life. They are foods that fulfill more than one purpose in your diet by providing more than one type of disease fighting nutrient, nutrients such as antioxidants & fiber and nutrients that may even change how some of your genes express themselves or not. For example, a newly classified superfood is rice which contains a type of RNA that has been shown to change the expression of your genes that make cholesterol. But Superfoods are only effective if you eat them. So they must be accessible, affordable, tasty and simple to include in everyday meals. They should be filling without being excessively high in calories. What good is a superfood if you can’t find it or it’s difficult to prepare or if you simply don’t enjoy it?

How do they accelerate your health? I like the idea that superfoods, or any food, for that matter can “accelerate health.” But what most superfoods are “known” for, is that they prevent disease. Some lower cholesterol, while others prevent cancer, some have antibacterial properties, blood thinning properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and protect against osteoporosis; but the idea of accelerating health is a much more positive aspect. If you find superfoods that you enjoy and you eat them in place of non-superfoods, then you are likely to enjoy more energy, optimal digestion, improved sleep and an overall good mood all day long. Those residual effects of superfoods will definitely accelerate your health and well being.

How can we use them to bring even more power to them?  [juicing, maybe?] Here again it depends on one’s access to a juicer, whether or not they even like juices, and the overall cost. Remember that superfoods should be filling without providing excess calories. Sometimes juicing, particularly when you juice fruits, will result in an abundance of calories, especially when you buy bottled juices that are often enhanced with fruit purees. When you juice you do incorporate more nutrients but this will make the end result more costly. If you buy a bunch of kale, spinach and an apple, for example, your juice will cost around $6. If you eat an organic apple it might cost you $1 and you also get that filling fiber that was left out by juicing. With that in mind, I love juicing, but sometimes it’s just not enough. It’s rarely filling and you completely lose the textural pleasures of eating. 
To bring “more power” to your superfoods, try to incorporate a “variety” of them in every meal and snack. Every time it’s time to eat, look at your food choices and ask yourself, “Am I about to eat any superfoods? Or are all of my choices non-super?”
You should eat 5-6 small meals per day. Eat something, or drink a juice, within one hour of rising and then every 3 hours thereafter. That’s a lot of opportunity to ingest superfoods. To help everyone do this, I’ve put together a 3-Day Superfoods Diet and all of my recipes on my website include superfoods throughout.

What if you don’t like the taste of these foods? That’s the beauty of food, there are many, many choices. And every superfood has a counterpart, so to speak. For example, if you don’t like kale, try another big leafy green vegetable such as Swiss chard, collard greens or bok choi. Although Kale is really off the charts for  Vitamin C, and for vitamin A precursors (aka carotenoids), they are not the ONLY food in our dietary choices which provide these nutrients. Also, try a superfood in more than one way. When you cook kale, it gives off a relatively strong odor but when you eat it raw with a little lemon juice and flax oil, the flavor is much more mild, AND by adding the lemon juice and flax oil, you’ve just enhanced the overall “superness” of this “superfood.” You can include kale in a fresh juice along with an apple and some celery which will also provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, while helping to mask the stronger flavor of the kale.
We know that overcooking, the canning process, etc., can compromise the nutrients in foods that are otherwise good for you.  Is there any way we should look out for that would do this to superfoods?  First, a caveat on canning. Canned beans are convenient and beans are definitely a superfood since they are protein  and carbohydrate rich, although not a complete protein. They are extremely high in fiber, simply THE highest fiber food you can eat. They are also very rich in minerals and much more versatile than most people realize. But the time it takes to cook them is a turn off for most people. However, canned beans are about five times more costly than dried beans, although we’re really only talking $1.29 vs $0.29 for the same volume. But if someone is willing to incorporate beans, I will advise them to buy beans that come in BPA free cans. So far, the only companies which I know for sure use BPA free canning processes are Eden organics and Amy’s organics.
Tomatoes are often canned and the canning process actually enhances the bioavailability of Lycopene, one of their very unique antioxidants which has been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness amongst older Americans. However, some people can’t eat a lot of tomatoes or other nightshade vegetables for that matter because of a component called solanine. When you do some research you will find that most people classify solanine as a toxin produced by green potatoes but solanine is actually a naturally occurring antioxidant found in many plants including tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, all of the nightshade family, as well as blueberries, apples, cherries, beets, huckleberries, okra and artichokes. Upon further research, I found that solanine is an antioxidant that has anticancer benefits. But for some people, it also causes an inflammatory response in the joints. Solanine, for the plant, acts as a feeding deterrent against predetorial insects. It interferes with digestion and nutrient absorption and causes production of potentially dangerous oxygen radicals or pro-oxidants. But pro-oxidants, the opposite of anti-oxidants do have a purpose in the body. They help kill off invading viruses and bacteria. Keep in mind that these solanine rich plant foods have a growing season and for that reason, it might be best to eat these foods during their peak season and NOT all year round. They have a season for a reason.
Overcooking can sometimes leach out some nutrients, particularly Vitamin C and the B vitamins, but some of the other antioxidants are more resilient and will still be there even through the cooking process. In general, it’s never a good idea to overcook anything, but sometimes cooking can enhance flavors, can make foods easier to digest and can even enhance the absorption of certain nutrients. Quinoa, for example, a popular supergrain, has some nutrient blockers that are released during the cooking process. These nutrient blockers are actually “antioxidants” developed by the plant to protect it from predators. Animals that eat these plants will learn that if they overconsume the plant, they may suffer from a nutrient deficiency which may even lead to death. This just goes to show that you CAN eat too much of  a good thing. In quinoa, for example, there is an antioxidant called a saponin, which is part of the plant’s immune system, it protects the plant from microbes and fungus. To humans, this saponin causes the grain to have a slightly soapy taste and to inhibit the absorption of some of the minerals which are often hard to come by in plant foods. However, because saponins are an antioxidant for the plant, they also provide us antioxidant protection when we eat quinoa. Although some research shows that saponins, when mixed with red blood cells, cause the cells to lyse, or rupture, which may seem detrimental to humans, this reaction is actually protective. You see, saponins are not absorbed in the human gut, so they don’t have the opportunity to cause harm inside the body, which I doubt they would anyway. But while these saponins are traveling through the gut, they latch on to potentially harmful bacteria, form a complex with the bacteria’s cholesterol which makes up cell structures, and causes the cholesterol, and therefore the cell membrane to rupture in essence, they kill the bacteria. So like in the plant itself, the saponin exerts antibacterial properties in humans too. The other thing to note about quinoa and most superfoods, is where they live, Quinoa thrives in cold, dry climates in high altitudes. It’s tenacity to flourish under such conditions exemplifies the power it can provide in our diets. Flax seeds, blueberries, strawberries and leafy greens such as collards, kale and purslane, for example are other examples of plants which thrive under less than optimal conditions. Purslane is a weed that grows in the sidewalk cracks. You can buy it at some farmer’s markets here in southern California. But it has an odd texture and flavor that may be a bit off-putting to some. However, it’s extremely high in omega-3 fats so I would toss it in a mixed green salad or throw it in a smoothie.
Are there any superfoods you feel are overrated? Goji berries, pomegranates and acai. Pomegranates are so difficult to work with that it’s a deterrent. Although pomegranate juice abounds, to me, a superfood can be bought and easily consumed in the package nature provided. Goji berries are from the other side of the globe and personally, I don’t enjoy their taste. Plus they are always found in the dried form, not necessarily processed but not as they appear in nature. Same for Acai. You can’t consume it in it’s pure and natural state unless you go to Brazil. But if you look around our country, our own backyards provide a plethora of superfood options. As a kid growing up in PA, I would simply go for  walk in the country and pick mulberries, aka blackberries, along the way. I used to walk out to my parent’s garage and suck on the honeysuckles that grew on the wall or I’d walk to the backyard garden and grab a fresh tomato in the summer. But in the winter, I simply didn’t eat tomatoes. If you want the BEST superfoods for you, get to know what’s in season in your community. Plants develop their antioxidant defense system as a way to protect themselves and help them grow and thrive according to their environment. If we eat the plants that grow in our environment, then we will get some of the same benefits.
Any help kick cravings?  Most cravings result from your body looking for nutrients.At the most basic level, when you don’t eat enough calories, your body may crave carbs or fat, rarely does it crave protein but often times, eating some protein whenever you are hungry, may keep you from overeating. Because protein foods are digested more slowly than carbs and don’t cause an insulin spike as we sometimes experience from a higher carb meal. An insulin spike will cause an influx of blood sugar to enter the cells rapidly which causes the blood sugar levels to drop suddenly, not necessarily to drop to a clinically low level of under 70, but perhaps just a drop from say 140 to 100 in a short period of time. If that happens, you may experience a sudden feeling of lightheadedness, perhaps a feeling of hunger which causes you to eat again even though your body has just been fed. In the end, if you team up your carbs with a fairly equal portion of protein, then you may offset some cravings.
Aside from the cravings we experience from a purely macronutrient sense, your body may tend to “crave” minerals. When we are stressed or very physically active, we tend to burn through more magnesium. It’s a common theory that chocolate cravings stem from your body’s search for a magnesium source. You eat the chocolate and you get “some” magnesium, but you also get sugar and fat and chemicals such as threobromine which increases blood pressure and heart rate, basically acting as a “stimulant,” the way caffeine does. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine which may stimulate the release of endorphin, that feel good hormone. Running can have the same effect for some people. Chocolate, because of its mouthfeel, is one of those foods that most people just love. But if it’s a food that you know you will easily over-consume, then try eliminating it from the diet and focus on more nutrient dense foods which may give you the minerals your body is craving in the first place. Good sources of magnesium include whole grains, leafy greens, beans and nuts; four superfoods that will accelerate your health while helping you kick cravings, especially cravings for chocolate. I also believe that chocolate as a superfood is overrated. And as a result, everyone under the sun is marketing some sort of “pure” cacoa type chocolate. If chocolate is a trigger food for you, as it is for me, then use the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.”I don’t crave chocolate until I eat it.